Hufanga overjoyed to hear Gipson will return in 2023


After considering retirement, Tashaun Gipson re-signed with the 49ers for the 2023 NFL season. The happiest person to hear this news might have been his fellow safety Talanoa Hufanga. 

On March 15, the team officially announced that Gipson had agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million contract that will keep him on the field across from Hufanga for a second consecutive season. 

"Gip is more than a teammate, he is family,” Hufanga told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Getting the opportunity to play alongside him has taught me a lot about football, but more importantly, it has taught me how to be a pro in this league.”  

After the 49ers' 2022 season came to an end, Gipson shared he would take some time to decompress before making a decision about his future. Nearly a month later, while at the NFL Scouting Combine, general manager John Lynch shared the 32-year old defensive back was leaning towards returning

In two weeks, an agreement was reached between Gipson and the 49ers.  

Gipson appeared in all 17 regular-season games for the 49ers last season as well as their three playoff games, racking up 68 tackles -- 47 solo -- and five interceptions. But maybe even more valuable was the leadership and mentoring he provided for Hufanga.

After appearing in 15 games as a rookie and three as a starter, Hufanga blossomed in 2022 during his second season with the club. The USC product credits his close friendship with Gipson as a significant reason for the progress that led to a Pro Bowl nod and All-Pro honors. 

Hufanga registered 113 tackles, 75 solo, two quarterback sacks and four interceptions -- one for a touchdown -- over 20 games as a starter in 2022. 

“He is a special person who truly makes players around him better everyday,” Hufanga said of Gipson. “Grateful for his return with me so we can run it back.” 

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Gipson originally was signed by the club in training camp after Jimmie Ward suffered a hamstring injury. The Wyoming product only was supposed play until Ward was healthy, but an additional injury to the 49ers veterans' hand and Gipson’s on-field chemistry with Hufanga helped him lock down the starting role for the rest of the season. 

Now the two safeties, who share a very unique bond, will have another season together on the field. 

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